Pan Fried Fish with Crispy Panko Crust
Yesterday we had the best pan fried fish I’ve had in a long time and maybe ever, so I thought I’d tell you about it.
First I should say that “Fish and Chips” is probably my favourite fast food thing, so I was pretty happy when Nick began experimenting in the kitchen, trying to get a homemade version just right.
After several tries over the past month or so, he has perfected a technique to turn grocery store frozen white fish fillets into crispy goodness, without a lot of time or effort. The fish is ready in about 5 minutes. And since it is fried in a pan and not deep fried in a pot, there’s much less oil needed in this version.
What you Need and What to Do:
– Some fillets of white fish. You want them fairly thin so the fish will cook through without the crust becoming too brown. We’ve tried Cod (pictured above), Tilapia (pictured below) and Sole and they all work well.
– 1/4 to 1/3 cup of oil. Peanut oil is good because you can get it quite hot without scorching it, and any food fries much better in very hot oil, and much less oil will be absorbed into the food.
– Panko Bread crumbs, enough to coat your fish on both sides. Add more as needed, as you go along. If you’re unfamiliar with them they are a Japanese style product that allows for a coating that is airy, light and crunchy.
– About 1/3 cup of Plain flour
– A few shakes of salt and lemon pepper (optional)
– Egg (one egg will be enough for 4 fillets).
If using frozen fish, allow it to thaw out completely. Then rinse it under the tap and pat dry with paper-towel.
Have 3 plates and a shallow bowl out on the counter and your flour, seasoning, egg and Panko at the ready.
Put flour in the first plate and mix with seasonings. Scramble the egg in the shallow bowl, and put Panko in the second plate. The third plate is to temporarily put the coated fish fillets before frying them.
In the first plate, coat the fish completely in the seasoned flour. If you have the time, let it sit in the flour for a few minutes. Shake off excess flour.
In the shallow bowl, fully soak the floured fish in the egg.
Then, on another plate, cover the fillets with Panko bread crumbs, really pressing them down on both sides, so they are well coated. Place breaded fillets on the last plate until they’re all ready to cook.
↑ What the fillets will look like before pan frying. ↑
Begin heating some Peanut oil in a heavy frying pan that is just big enough to allow the amount of fish you’re making to lay flat, without touching. Cook one or a couple at a time if that is what will fit in your pan. The amount of oil should come up to about a third of an inch. Note, it will not cover the fish when you’re cooking it, so you’ll have to flip the fish to get both sides cooked.
Heat the oil until it’s quite hot but not smoking. Carefully place the fish into it. It should sizzle, but not spatter too much since there is no water in the coating. Cook one minute per side, flipping with a spatula. Check to see that it is cooked through and remove to a dish lined with paper-towel to soak up any excess oil.
Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.
You’ll notice that most of the oil remains in the pan after you’re done. If the thought of saving it is not unappealing, you can strain it through a colander lined with a paper-towel and store it in the fridge to reuse to make fish again or whatever you need cooking oil for (except baking, of course). It might have a slight fishy flavour but it’s not that noticeable. We save ours to use for Asian fried noodles, stir fries and fried rice.
We had some Homemade Tartar Sauce with our fish. It is easy to make by combining mayonnaise with chopped: capers, dill pickle, green olives (optional), and white onion. If you have it, fresh parsley is also good in it.
Mmmm, so good. Who needs the cost and calories of deep-fried fish from a restaurant or take-out stand when you can make something equally as delicious right at home in 5 minutes? It’s worth noting that Tilapia does not have a fishy smell or flavour, so even people who think they don’t like fish might like it.
Not only is this fish really delicious when first cooked, it also makes amazing leftovers, as Fish Sandwiches. Just heat the fish up, uncovered, in the toaster oven or regular oven. Then, serve on a bun and garnished with vegetables and a dollop of that tartar sauce.
The Purple Cabbage Slaw recipe is here.
I hope you try it out!